Victoria’s Bay Centre has transformed into a winter wonderland with the launch of the annual Festival of Trees this week.
The festival is a community tradition that is in its 28th year and supports the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Each year, local businesses, organizations and individuals decorate approximately 100 Christmas trees which are put on display at the Bay Centre during the holiday season. This year, there are 91 trees on display that are all unique.
“Some sponsors have gone absolutely all out,” said BC Children’s Hospital Foundation philanthropy manager Shaun Cerisano. “One tree spins on its own, another is set up like a sound system … there are a lot of really unique and interactive trees.”
Cerisano said the Festival of Trees is a very grassroots event in Victoria that has grown to be in other communities including Whistler, Kelowna and Nanaimo.
Those visiting the event can make a donation to vote for their favourite tree, with funds going to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Last year, the event in Victoria, Vancouver and other communities raised $387,659 to provide children across the province with the best health care possible.
A new feature at the festival is the option for visitors to vote through text message. Signs are posted at each individual tree listing the name of the group or person that decorated it. There is also a unique number and bar code that patrons can text. In return, they’ll receive a text message with different donation amounts that they can choose from to vote and support the foundation.
The Festival of Trees runs from Nov. 21 to Jan. 6.
For more information visit bcchf.ca/festival-of-trees.